BeIN doubles up in cricket with ECB rights deal
BeIN Media Group, the international pay-television sports broadcaster, has made its second major acquisition in cricket in as many months, signing a six-year deal with the England and Wales Cricket Board.
The agreement means all England men's and women's home matches and the ECB's domestic competitions will be available to BeIN customers in the Middle East and North Africa until the end of the 2024 season.
On 9 November, BeIN acquired rights in MENA to top-level matches played in Australia for the next six years, marking its first venture into cricket coverage.
The contract with the ECB will encompass next year’s tours by India and Pakistan as well as the next home Ashes series against Australia in 2019 plus action from the T20 Blast, Royal London One-Day Cup, the Specsavers County Championship and the ECB’s new eight-team Twenty20 competition, which launches in 2020.
The 24 territories covered by the contract include the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, Egypt and Morocco.
Following the deals with the ECB and Cricket Australia, BeIN said it will now launch a dedicated cricket channel in the MENA region next year. As well as live cricket, there will be a mix of original programming, documentaries and magazine shows.
Also planned for the future is an Ultra HD '4K' channel, which will show selected cricket games.
Tom Harrison, chief executive of the ECB, said: “We’re very pleased to welcome BeIN Media Group to our broader family of broadcast partners and excited by their plans to create their own dedicated cricket channel for the first time. Our international and domestic teams are attracting an ever-expanding global audience and this new partnership will give even more cricket fans worldwide an opportunity to follow all the action and excitement from our game.
“With the 2019 home men’s and women’s Ashes series and India’s next tour to England among the highlights viewers can look forward to in the next two years – this is a comprehensive and compelling package of rights which will help give cricket excellent exposure in the MENA region.”
Yousef Al-Obaidly, deputy chief executive of BeIN Media Group, added: “We are thrilled to partner with the ECB at such an exciting time for English cricket, building on a similar agreement signed this month with Cricket Australia. Together, these acquisitions and the upcoming launch of our dedicated cricket channel will deliver high quality, in-depth cricket coverage to the rapidly growing audience in the MENA region.
“These agreements are the latest in our ambitious plans to deliver more sports coverage across the region and further enhance our position as the undisputed first choice sports and entertainment broadcaster.”
BeIN's agreement with Cricket Australia comes into effect for the upcoming Ashes test match series between Australia and England, which gets under way in Brisbane on Thursday.